Sox, Cook have decisions to make

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Sox, Cook have decisions to make

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Aaron Cook should have one more start before May 1. He is more focused on that than he is on whether or not he is called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before his opt-out date arrives.

Ive just been trying to focus on getting my innings and my pitch count up down here and not really trying to worry about that too much because I didnt want to get distracted, Cook said. So in this next week Ill start talking to my agent, figure out whats going to happen. Come May 1, if theres a decision to be made, well move on from there.

Before Cook makes his decision, the Red Sox will have to make theirs add him to the major league roster or risk losing him.

Cook has made four starts, including two complete (seven-inning) games, spanning 27 innings, for Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a record of 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA. He has held opponents to a .219 average, with a 2.58 groundball-to-flyout ratio, close to the 2.28 ratio the sinkerballer compiled in 10 major league seasons with the Rockies.

Cook, 33, joined the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in January, with a clause allowing him to leave if he is not added to the big league roster by May 1.

I feel like Ive done everything Ive been asked to do, he said. Feel like I commanded the strike zone, got groundball outs, got deep into games, and just feel like thats what they asked me to do and Im doing it.

Cook, whose fastball averaged 88.2 mph with Colorado last season and 90.4 over his career (according tofangraphs.com) was up to 92 in his last start, a complete-game, seven-inning win over Durham, in which he allowed one run on seven hits and two walks, with a strikeout. Hes not necessarily concerned with velocity numbers, though.

Not really, if Im getting guys out, he said. I worked with Mac Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure in the past when both were with Colorado and he said, Guys will let you know if youve got enough velocity or not. If youre getting them out, then you dont need to worry about it.

As a sinkerballer, hes more concerned with getting groundball outs.

More than anything else or any other stat for me thats the one that means the most, he said. Ground balls and fly outs and being where Im at right now, I think it just kind of speaks for itself.

Hes pitched very well. Hes been awesome here, as a person said Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur. I think hes done a great job. I think he could get people out in the big leagues right now.

At the start of spring training the Sox held back on Cook, who has had shoulder issues in the past, as a precaution. Hes feeling completely healthy now.

It didnt hurt, he said of the delay. I feel healthy. I feel strong. So I guess it probably did help. I feel very, very comfortable with where Im at. Im recovering after starts phenomenally right now. Just feel like Im in a good spot.

Cook is satisfied with all his pitches right now. What would he like to accomplish in his next start?

Just keep doing the same thing, he said. Keep going out, having a quick inning, get as many ground ball outs as possible, and let my infielders do the work.

Monday he didnt throw many secondary pitches, and Id like to see more, Sauveur said.

He didnt need to, but youre going to need it up there. Unless thats how he pitches, which I know he does a lot. He throws a lot of sinkers. But I just always feel its always a good thing to have that secondary pitch.

The sinker has been good. It was real good for six innings Monday, and the seventh inning it flattened out a little bit but he had a long wait after the sixth inning. It was the seventh inning, and if it was a big league game, he probably would have been out, anyway. But we were trying to get him a little more pitches and innings so we left him in there.

Now, its just a matter of waiting.

Im just going to try to focus on one more start down here and see what happens, Cook said.

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.